WEATHERFORD – Lake Dallas freshman pitcher Ashlyn Burgess took a line drive off her right hand.
The training staff for the Lady Falcons’ softball team came out to look at Burgess, who stayed in game two of Friday afternoon’s Class 5A bi-district playoff despite taking a hard liner off the bat of Aledo sophomore Presley Hull.
The line drive off Burgess was one of two injuries that the Lake Dallas pitching staff had to deal with during its first two playoff appearance since 2016.
Lady Falcons head coach Amber Britton said that sophomore Gracie Bredeson wasn’t at 100 percent coming into the best-of-three series. Halfway through game two, Lake Dallas went to freshman Katie Poppe, who had never pitched in a high school game.
For as hard as Lake Dallas’ trio of pitchers attempted to work through those bumps and bruises, Aledo’s high-powered offense proved too much as the Lady Cats won game one, 12-0, and game two, 16-3, to complete the sweep.
“We struggled,” Britton said. “It was just about being competitive and having confidence. Every good team is going to hit and put the ball in play. But, it was just what we were going to do when we have a passed ball or an error. Who cares? If they score one, we can score one. I think that we got down and felt defeated early.”
The games were moved to Weatherford High School due to a wet field at Aledo.
Aledo (20-4), ranked No. 1 in Class 5A in the latest DFW Fast-Pitch poll, rode an offensive explosion to end Lake Dallas’ (10-13) season in the first round of the playoffs. The Lady Cats clubbed six home runs on the day – two each by Claire Byars and Madysen Boutwell – and pounded out 28 hits.
The catalyst for Aledo was junior shortstop Macy Graf, a Mississippi State pledge.
Graf made contact with the second pitch that she saw during her at-bat in the bottom of the first inning of game one and lined a shot that got away from a Lake Dallas outfielder. Graf flashed her speed and rounded the bases for a 1-0 lead on a play that was ruled an error.
Graf also flashed the leather.
With Lake Dallas trailing 2-0, senior Gracie Dover reached on a lead-off walk in the top of the second and later advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. But, she was tagged out by Graf while running from second to third bases on a ground ball and Graf threw to first base to complete the inning-ending double play.
Offense was a struggle for the Lady Falcons. Lake Dallas had only two base runners the entire game and its only hit came courtesy of a two-out double by freshman Abby Kell in the third inning.
Lake Dallas kept it close until Boutwell clubbed a three-run home run during the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Lady Cats a commanding 7-0 lead.
The Lady Falcons then took a turn going deep and it came a good time.
After Lake Dallas was held without a run in game one, junior Bella DiDonato clubbed a two-run home run over the center-field wall to give her squad a 2-0 lead during the top of the first inning in game two.
Unfortunately for Lake Dallas, DiDonato’s hit was one of just three in the contest and the Lady Falcons didn’t score again until Dover delivered a RBI double in the visitor’s half of the fifth inning. But, by that time, Lake Dallas already fell behind by double digits.
Aledo proceeded to turn the tables on Lake Dallas.
Byars hit the first of her two home runs in game two in the first inning and the Lady Cats were off and running. Aledo scored 16 consecutive runs after falling behind before its ever stepped into the batter’s box.
Byars drew a bases-loaded walk to jump-start a six-run second inning for the Lady Cats, who took a commanding 8-2 lead after an RBI sacrifice fly by Texas Ray.
Although the two losses Friday ended Lake Dallas’ season, the Lady Falcons have a lot to look forward to. With only one senior graduating (Dover), Britton is excited of the team’s possibilities for the 2022 season.
“This was a fun team, a young team,” Britton said. “They have definitely grown since our first district game, since the end of preseason. I’m not a big stats person, but you can see it in our numbers of how were able to being to produce runs. That’s why it was a bit of a struggle ending this way because this is kind of how we started the season.”